Texas AG Warns of Bank Scam E-Mails

February 24, 2006

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released an urgent message for all Texans to be on the lookout for official-looking e-mails purporting to originate from major financial institutions asking for personal account information.

In the latest series of so-called “phishing” scams, the e-mail sender claims to represent financial institutions such as Comerica, Chase or others. The message instructs the “account holder” to submit personal account information because “bank officials” have reason to believe his or her account may have been accessed by an unauthorized party.

“I cannot emphasize this enough – Texans who receive such e-mails should immediately delete them because these tactics are used to trick you into releasing private information to someone who will try to empty your bank account,” said Attorney General Abbott.

The phony e-mails scare the user into believing his or her account information may have been compromised to outsiders. The e-mails then instruct users to click on what appears to be an official link to their bank’s Web site, then log in using their user ID and password in order to inspect their account for recent activity. At that point, the ID and password are stolen and used for purposes of identity theft.

Attorney General Abbott urges consumers who receive such e-mails to visit their personal bank’s Web site and access account information the usual way. Banks and credit unions never send unsolicited e-mails to their clients in this manner, so it is always wise to avoid these e-mails and clickable links that can expose a consumer to fraud.

Financial institutions request consumers whose account information may have been compromised to immediately contact their fraud investigators. Many have established special e-mail addresses for consumers to forward phony e-mails and “phishing” attempts.

Consumers who believe they may have received such bogus e-mails may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by calling toll-free (800) 252-8011 or accessing the agency’s Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us.

Source: Texas Attorney General’s Office

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